In Bend, It's About What You're Drinking

Be they hoppy, robust or caffeinated, how the drinks are made is just as important as who's throwing them back.

On Saturday, July 2, 2011 - 00:45

For Bendians, the beverage business is no joke. Be they hoppy, robust or caffeinated, how the drinks are made is just as important as who’s throwing them back.

Bend is home to the Deschutes Brewery, the 16th largest brewery in the nation and birthplace of such distinctive ales as the Black Butte Porter, the Obsidian Stout and the Bachelor ESB (named in reference to local cinder cone, volcano eruption and ski haunts, respectively). The brewery turned 20 years old in 2008, and its dedication to malty goodness is as heartfelt as ever.

Skeptical? Reference the beer essays on their Web site, including “The Miracle of Yeast” and “Top Fermented or Bottom Fermented.” For diners looking for a more grape-y pairing option, try Volcano Vineyards, a micro-winery started by a Bend couple five years ago. The wine is produced at Foothill Winery in Southern Oregon, but their tasting room is in Bend, smack in the middle of volcano country – just the way the owners wanted. They produce just 1,500 cases of wine each year, but Volcano is looking to expand and hopes to operate a production facility of its own within a couple of years.

For a bold drink before noon, Bendians frequent Bellatazza, an upstart coffee chain based in the area. Their coffee is unique in that it’s purchased straight from growers, primarily from the Finca Vista Hermosa plantation in Guatemala. Special care is taken to ensure no unfair labor or unnecessary additives are involved in the growing process.

Speaking of growing, Bend is home to three Farmers’ Markets that welcome the public to buy fresh produce throughout the summer and fall. Statewide, Farmers’ Markets, which are organized by the Oregon Farmers’ Markets Association, include roughly 65 communities and 1,000 farmers, drawing sometimes more than 90,000 people each week.